This year, make a Move More Plan instead of a New Year’s resolution. Chances are you have room for increasing your activity, because fewer than one in four Americans over 18 years old meet the recommendations for physical activity, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And even if you do meet the activity recommendation, you may still be sitting too much. Replacing sitting time with movement and boosting your moderate physical activity to more vigorous activity means more health benefits, including lowered cancer risk, improved blood sugar control for those with diabetes, better sleep and less anxiety.
A great place to start your Move More Plan is with AICR’s second Recommendation for Cancer Prevention: “Be physically active as part of everyday life – walk more and sit less.” Whatever your level of activity, developing a Move More Plan will help you map out specifically what you want to change, how you will make the change and ways you can tweak it as necessary.
- Measure your sitting minutes: keep track of how much time you sit – whether at your desk, watching TV, driving or relaxing. Do this over 2–3 days for your baseline.
- Find times when you can break it upwith a minute or more of activity.
- Working at your desk: take a water break, walk around the office or go up and down the stairs a few times.
- Watching TV or during other screen time: set a timer for 20 or 30 minutes and take a a 1–2 minute walking or jumping jacks break.
- Sitting in a large conference: sit where you can easily move to the back of the room to stand so you can do a few subtle stretches and moves.
- Set a timer on your phone or computer to remind you to get up and move.
- Go for a walk for your meetings: moving is great for creativity, increased energy and a positive outlook. Think of how much more you’ll accomplish with a walk than sitting at a desk talking.
- Do more stairs: whenever possible swap out the elevator for the stairs, or walk up or down escalators.
- Keep a stretch band or light hand weights handy: stand up to use hand weights at your desk, TV or favorite chair. Use your stretch band to do these 1-minute stretches
- Measure sitting minutes after two weeks of your plan: compare your sitting time before your move more plan and two to three weeks later. Are you sitting a bit less? Getting some activity breaks in? Finding new ways to move more?
A notebook, an app or a pedometer can help you keep track of how you are doing and provide some accountability. Better yet, find a friend to do a move more plan with so you can compare notes, encourage each other and share ideas.
You can also sign up for AICR’s New American Plate Challenge, scheduled to begin in February 2019 for weekly challenges with tips, SMART goals, diet and activity guidance and support.